How to Bet on Boxing

How to Bet on Boxing – Understanding Boxing Betting Odds

By Loot, Professional Boxing Handicapper,

Boxing, once the most popular betting sport in the USA has lost some steam in recent years, but still remains a respectable force at the sportsbooks. Some love the simplicity of two men, “mano a mano,” duking it out with no scoreboard, no timeouts, and no substitutions. At first, the betting odds might seem difficult to understand, but rest assured that betting on fights is a cinch.


Straight Betting: This is when you simply bet on one fighter to win a boxing match. The odds are expressed on the money line, which is simply a way to express the odds. For those new to boxing betting, the problem with money lines is that we all grew up hearing odds expressed a different way–in fractional form. We heard how Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston as a “6-to-1” underdog, or how Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas as a “40-to-1 favorite.” Money lines work the same way, it’s just a different expression. Here’s an example.

Floyd Mayweather (-270) vs. Saul Alvarez (+230)

This is a money line. Mayweather is at -270, which means he is a favorite. The fighters will each have a number with either a plus or a minus sign next to it. A minus sign always means a favorite, while the plus sign always indicates an underdog. Obviously, with favorites you have to bet more to win less, while underdogs pay more than you wagered. Mayweather at -270 means you have to bet $270 for every $100 you hope to win. Alvarez at +230 means you win $230 for every $100 you wager.

A few points about the money line: You don’t have to bet $100 or enough to win $100. The money line expression rotates around the $100 mark just to make it easy to understand. You can bet virtually any amount whatsoever, depending on the limits of your book. In order to win one of these bets, the fighter you bet on must simply win–in any manner at all. If the fight is a draw, you receive your bet back, unless there was betting offered on a draw, which would result in a loss.

Over/Under Betting: Wagering on totals in boxing is when you predict how long a fight will last. Who wins the fight is of no consequence for the purposes of your bet–only how long it lasts. When betting on this option, you will see the fighters listed, with a total number of rounds, with a money line for each choice. Here is an example:

Chris Arreola vs. Seth Mitchell
Over 5.5 (+135)
Under 5.5 (-155)

In the above example, the total number of rounds is 5.5. At +135, the “over” is the underdog, with you standing to win $135 for every $100 you bet. The “under” is favored at -155, meaning you must wager $155 for every $100 you hope to win. A key point to remember is that 5.5 does not mean midway through the 5th round. It means the fight must have 5.5 completed rounds, meaning the fight would only go “over” at the 1:30 mark of the 6th round.

Boxing Prop Bets: Prop bets are wagers you can make on various details of the fight. These bets allow you to be more specific in picking exactly how a fight will go. You can bet whether a fighter will win by knockout or decision. You can bet in which specific round a fight will end. In the bigger fights, you can even bet if a certain fighter will score a knockdown.

Boxing Parlays: A parlay, at root, is when you place multiple picks (at least two) on the same bet. The key to parlays are that all the picks need to win. The payouts can be lofty, but perfection is required. Let’s look at a few examples.

Floyd Mayweather (-270) vs. Saul Alvarez
Lucas Matthysse (-255) vs. Danny Garcia

This is a common parlay, where the bettor doesn’t want to put out a lot of money betting on favorites individually, so he’ll put a couple favorites on a parlay. A $100 parlay on these picks would pay a little over $90 in winnings.

Carl Froch (+360) vs. Lucian Bute
Tony Thompson (+500) vs. David Price

A powerful tool in the arsenal of boxing bettors is the underdog parlay. In a sport rife with upsets, these can come in handy and give bettors a knockout punch of their own. A $100 parlay on these picks would pay a hefty $2660.